FLSA – Tell Us Your Overtime Complaint Without Fear of Retaliation

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) requires that employers pay employees at least the minimum wage for each hour worked, and overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 in any workweek. The FLSA also provides protection from retaliation, such as termination, to employees who make a complaint about minimum wage and/or overtime violations. However, until the Supreme Court ruling last week it was unclear whether the an employee making an informal oral complaint was entitled to the same FLSA anti-retaliation protections. 

The Supreme court in Kasten v. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp., ruled that the FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision did not only protect employees filing written claims in court or with the Department of Labor, but also employees who submit informal oral complaints.

The FLSA’s anti-retaliation provision forbids employers “to. . . discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to [the FLSA].” FLSA § 215(a)(3)(emphasis added).

The Court ruled that the language, “filed any complaint” was broad enough to include informal oral complaints.